The film follows the private life of the infamous 16th century British monarch, King Henry the VIII, and his misadventures in his various marriages. Henry the VIII is wonderfully portrayed by the highly talented and entertaining Charles Laughton, a masterful one-of-a-kind character actor who managed to land many plum roles despite looking like a bloated fish. Laughton portrays the King as a rollicking, impetuous, boozing lover of women. A man equal parts charming, childish and dangerous.
The best part of the movie is when he tries to explain how to make babys to his 4th wife Anne of Cleves (Elsa Lanchester, Laughton´s wife)ending up playing cards on the marriage bed.
April 25, 2020 Subject:
I enjoyed this film a lot.
One result of watching it was that I did so with Wikipedia in hand on my phone, and it is not as historically inaccurate as a previous reviewer claimed.
The character of Henry is a fun fiction, showing nothing of his amazing intelligence and abilities, but the characters of his wives seem pretty accurately portrayed according to those historical accounts that are left.
It doesn't show any of the violence, plotting and torture associated with the demise of Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard - it simply moves to their executions.
Also a beautifully clear print. A pleasure in every way.
June 13, 2009 Subject:
This film may be mostly crap for history, but as entertainment it is a pure delight. Charles Laughton hams it up with relish as an outlandish Henry VIII. His wife, Elsa Lanchester, has similar fun with her role (Anne of Cleves). Strong supporting performances from Merle Oberon (Anne Boleyn), Robert Donat (Thomas Culpeper), and others.
The file appears to have the entire film, although it may be slightly speeded up (it is normally billed as 97 minutes). The film is just a bit out of sync in several places, but no more than normal for an early sound film. Otherwise, quality is very good.